Using Fireworks to Scatter Ashes

Photo by Frontal Q. Parks

Photo by Frontal Q. Parks

When laying a loved one to rest, choosing cremation opens up almost unlimited options for creative and unique memorials. We’ve already told you about some of the possibilities, like asking an artist to create a custom cremation urn just for your loved one, having cremated remains made into jewelery or a painting or a sculpture, and some even stranger ideas. But there are still more ways to send cremated ashes back into nature. For example, there’s the famously gonzo idea of sending your loved one up (literally) as part of a fireworks display.

The idea of scattering cremated remains with fireworks was made famous at the star-studded funeral of Hunter S. Thompson, the famously irreverent author who invented gonzo journalism. Thompson, the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Rum Diaries, and other books, had always wanted to be sent off by having his cremated ashes shot out of a cannon. In fact, decades before his death, he had designed 153-foot-tall tower just for that purpose. When the ailing Thompson committed suicide at the age of 67, his friends and family carried out his final wishes with an even more stylish twist: They had Thompson’s cremated remains loaded into fireworks shells. They were, indeed fired out of a canon at the top of his chosen tower, but they also exploded in a colorful fireworks display. It was said to be a fitting funeral for a flamboyantly unique man, and it’s started a trend.

Thompson’s offbeat funeral inspired the family of Tom Moore, a Florida man who loved Independence Day fireworks displays. When Moore passed away in 2010 at the age of 70, his wife, Ann and their friends, who own the Santore & Sons Fireworks Company, decided to load his cremated remains into fireworks shells for a community display on the 4th of July, 2010. As of this article’s writing, 200 people were expected to come out to see Moore go up in 1,500 explosions of color. Now the trend is growing worldwide, with advice available on how to create your own cremains-containing fireworks display, and a UK company specializing in the creation of cremains-loaded fireworks shells.

Whether you choose the gonzo fireworks route or a more sedate way to say goodbye, cremation can give you the freedom to scatter or keep your loved one’s ashes in the way that is right for their unique personality.

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